Randwick hosts the Villiers Stakes on Saturday

Randwick hosts the $250,000, Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) on Saturday with 17 nominations received on Monday including the first two home, Ranier and Live And Free (NZ), in the Group 3 Festival Stakes over 1500m at Rosehill  on November 30th.

The nominations for the Villiers and the other two black type races, the $140,000 listed pair of the Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) and Christmas Cup (2400m), are extended until Tuesday. There are 14 nominations on Monday for the Razor Sharp Handicap and 11 for the Christmas Cup.

Godolphin’s four-year-old Lonhro gelding Ranier returned to winning form with the Festival Stakes win, however it was a close run affair.

Kathy O’Hara struck traffic problems obtaining clear running for Ranier, carrying 53kg, and while that was happening John O’Shea’s Live And Free, carrying 53.5kg, with Brenton Avdulla were making a rails run that nearly secured the win. Once O’Hara had Ranier out in the middle of the track he lengthened quickly and just made the line for a nose win.

Mornington’s Logan McGill has nominated his in-form Gold Fields with the seven-year-old Churchill Downs gelding coming off two black type wins in succession.

On October 27th Gold Fields won the listed Sale Cup over 1600m with 54kg under Stephen Baster and followed that up with the Group 3 Sandown Stakes over 1500m with 55.5kg under Baster on November 16th and giving the retiring jockey a win in his final race ride.

The track is rated a Good 4 on Monday after 18mm of irrigation in the last seven days and the rail will be in the True position for the entire circuit.

Sydney’s weather has a hot Tuesday forecast of 36c with smoke haze and then cooler for the rest of the week. Wednesday’s forecast is for a partly cloudy day and 25c, similar for Thursday and 23c for Friday. Both Thursday and Friday might have showers with up to 1mm each day.

Saturday’s forecast is for a partly cloudy day with 17c – 24c.

Randwick nominations

Ranier with Live And Free (NZ) inside in the Group 3 Festival Stakes, picture